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Location: Old Town Ano Poli
The Byzantine Church of Agios Nikolaos Orfanos in Thessaloniki: The church of Agios Nikolaos Orfanos is placed to the eastern walls of the Upper (Old) Town of Thessaloniki, between Herodotus and Apostle Paul streets. It was probably built in 1310 and it actually became the dependency of the Vlatadon monastery in the 17th century.
Although its structure is very simple, it has a remarkable decoration; in fact, its great frescoes stand out as one of the best preserved in Thessaloniki. These frescoes must have been painted by a Serbian monk when the church was built.
They depict scenes from the life of Agios Nikolaos and other saints and prophets. They also represent scenes from the Old and New Testament. Archaeologists have found many graves under the forecourt of the church. The marble temple reveals the date of its construction and the main hall communicates with the side lofts through openings.
It is believed that Agios Nikolaos is characterized as orphanos ( orphan) in this church because he was the patron saint of the orphans and the widows. Another suggestion would be that the church used to have an orphanage in its courtyard. Furthermore, the name of the church could be related to its founder or his family. The church was active even during the Turkish occupation. Its frescoes were discovered in 1957-1960, while this Byzantine monument was being restored.
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